Comelec tells party-list groups: Name nominees
By Helen Flores
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list groups joining the May 10 elections have until March 26 to submit their list of nominees, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.
Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said nominees must satisfy the minimum qualifications provided in election laws.
After receiving the list, the poll body must immediately publish it in three national newspapers, he added.
Larrazabal said under Resolution No. 8691 issued by the Comelec last Nov. 3, party-list nominees who are holding public appointive office shall be considered resigned upon their acceptance of the nomination.
“Unless they accept the nomination, they are not considered nominees of the party-list organization and they are not required to resign,” he said.
“Nominees who are holding elective office may continue to hold office even after acceptance of their nomination,” read the resolution.
Larrazabal said the 187 party-list groups included in the ballots are not all accredited by the Comelec, and the poll body will soon release the lists of accredited and unaccredited party-list groups.
He also said a nominee can be rejected if someone files an opposition to his or her nomination.
If a nominee is rejected, the second, third, fourth or fifth nominee can replace him orher, he added.
Ocampo accuses Comelec of allowing mockery of law
Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo accused the Comelec yesterday of allowing certain groups to make a mockery of the party-list representation system in Congress.
“The Comelec has been very lenient in accrediting party-list groups that hardly represent marginalized sectors,” he said.
“Time and again, we have pleaded with the Comelec to be more discerning in recognizing party-list groups, but time and again, the Comelec has been remiss in its duty.”
Ocampo said amending the Party-list Law to prevent unqualified persons from representing marginalized sectors would be one of his priorities if he wins as senator in the May 10 elections.
“The letter and spirit of the law intends to involve the marginalized sectors in the process of legislation,” he said.
“It aims to give representation to these sectors whose voices are often unheard or dismissed in the public debate.
“In recent years, however, we have seen how the law was twisted and manipulated to accommodate individuals and groups that do not represent the marginalized, but in fact stand for big political and business interests.”
Representatives of these groups are relatives of incumbent government officials and members of the police and military organizations, he added.
The fact that Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes are being nominated to represent marginal sectors “only goes to show that there’s something very wrong and there is something lacking in the party-list law,” Ocampo said.
Bayan Muna has vowed to file cases with the Comelec to disqualify Arroyo and Reyes if they are nominated as party-list representatives.
The party-list group United Transport Koalisyon (1-Utak) has confirmed that it is submitting Reyes’s name to the Comelec as its first nominee in place of Vigor Mendoza.
It is not clear why Mendoza, a member of the House of Representatives, is giving way to Reyes, who is accepting the nomination.
A group calling itself Ang Galing Party (AGP) would nominate Mikey Arroyo, according to Mayor Buddy Dungca of Bacolor town in Pampanga.
Dungca said Rep. Arroyo would be AGP’s first nominee with outgoing Mayor Dennis Pineda of Lubao town as second nominee.
AGP claims to represent underprivileged sectors like transport drivers and security guards, he added.
1-Utak: Reyes just one nominee
The I-Utak party-list group clarified yesterday that Reyes is just one of its nominees in Congress.
Bren Sayasa II, party secretary- general, said their group is still going through a selection process to determine the qualifications of their nominees.
“They can check our records with the (Comelec) to find out who our nominees are,” he said.
Sayasa said once the selection process is completed, a proper announcement would be made.
“Until then, there is no reason to speculate on the nominees that would be fielded by 1-Utak,” he said.
In a statement, Sayasa denied allegations of Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng Transport at Operator Nationwide (Piston) that it is in cahoots with the Big 3 oil firms.
Since the party-list has been elected to Congress, it has filed numerous bills and resolutions for the benefit of the transport sector, he added.
Sayasa said the bills include one outlining a fair pricing scheme for petroleum products, recommendation to amend the Downstream Oil Deregulation Act of 1998 and Executive Order 839, and a review on the price formulation strategy of oil firms.
If they were in connivance with Petron, Caltex and Shell, they would not be pushing for a law that would affect the business of these oil companies, he said.
He asked officials of the Independent Petroleum Companies Association to support their proposal to limit the number of fuel pump stations to avoid further dominance by the big oil companies.
“How can they say that we are in connivance with oil firms when we are doing our best to create a level playing field in the sale of petroleum products to protect small oil industry players as well,” he said.
The 1-Utak also pushed for the implementation of a single ticketing system for traffic violators, Sayasa said. – With Jess Diaz, Perseus Echeminada